It is with great pride that I share some great news for an organic producer of Greek food products, Marianna’s from Halkidiki. I first met Marianna and her family a few years ago, after learning that the base of their operations are just 6 km. away from our summer home.
Located just outside of Nea Gonia, Marianna Kazaki and family tend to their vineyard which yields Greece’s most popular and most tender grapes…used to make Dolmades. Marianna’s sell jarred grape leaves, jarred dolmades, frozen dolmades that simply have to be boiled and ready to serve and many other Greek specialty items.
Earlier this summer, Saki Kazaki shared his excitement after Marianna’s won six Great Taste Awards, where judges are presented with food items that are without packaging, wrapping or any labels. Products entered for competition are judged solely on their taste.
The Kazakis family sent their products for judging among over 10,000 other food items in a crowded field but they succeeded in gaining the attention of the judges and Marianna’s products were awarded for Great Taste:
Marianna’s Organic Vinetops: organic Sultana vinetops from the Kazakis family organic vineyards, preserved in home-made organic vinegar aged for five years in oak barrels. Judges awarded two stars to this product, noting: «A first for many of the judges, who had not tasted picked sultana tops. Crunchy, flavoursome, with an unmistakable fragrance of sultana coming through. The vinegar is very good, not too acidic, and it balances very well with the sultana tops. A very well conceived and executed product.»
Marianna’s Ntolmadakia: the latest product from the Kazakis family, first presented at the 2012 Slow Food in Torino, Italy. Made with Marianna’s organic vineleaves, greek rice and fresh herbs, this product received the following comment: « They look fantastic with lovely fresh green leaves and an oily, not wet gloss. They are fragrant with mint and lemon, well seasoned and the filling holds together well. Very good vine leaf wraps indeed: humble and not extravagant and a labour of love.»
Marianna’s Organic Vineleaves: the oldest product from the Kazakis family, present in markets in Greece since 1994 and already exported to most European markets and Japan. Produced from the family’s owned Sultana vineyards in Nea Gonia, Halkidiki. Great Taste judges commented: «we like the fact that these have structure and as an ingredient to use in cooking and a carrier for further applications we find the texture and acidity fine. It holds its form really well and has a light brine, making it a good carrier for other ingredients»
Marianna’s Organic Petimezi: made from pure must from the Kazakis family organic vineyards, this petimezi (cooked grape must) reminds the authentic taste of must. Marianna’s petimezi is the ingredient of choice from many distinguished chefs of the New Greek Cuisine in Greece and abroad. Judges noted: «There’s an impressive rich, dark colour to this product and it has a distinct sultana aroma. It has a thick body and judges find it very treacly and intense.»
Marianna’s hand-made Feta (PDO) Cheese Pie: produced and packed by the Goniatisses cooperative, using Marianna Kazakis’ recipes and ingredients. All Marianna’s pies are 100% hand-made, with pure, local ingredients. The 1-star awarded Marianna’s 1 kg pie uses 170 g. Feat (PDO) cheese, giving good sense to the word “cheese-pie”. The judges commented: «Looks appetising with good rustic crimping and flaky pastry. Good authentic pastry work and deliciously crisp pastry. The feta has cooked through well to give a nice chewy texture and doesn’t over season the dish. All judges finished their portion and wanted more.»
Marianna’s organic Orange-Bergamot marmelade: Even though marmelades and “spoon” sweets are not the mass produced by the Kazakis family, they are the family’s favorite pass-time and, for this reason, they are produced in small quantities and shared with good friends. Judges noted: «It’s got a good depth of colour and a good set. The flavour is lovely: the oranges are neither bitter nor oversweet. Some judge felt the peel had been cut a bit too finely, which was a shame: but in terms of flavour we felt this did deserve a star.»
What is Great Taste?
Great Taste is the largest and most trusted accreditation scheme for speciality and fine food & drink. Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation service leading to an independent accreditation that enables small food and drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands.
Since 1994 over 80,000 products have been evaluated. This year alone, almost 10,000 products were blind-tasted by panels of specialists: top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.
The Kazakis House of Viticulture exists since 1994 and remains, to date, a traditional family business. We aim at creating Greek, high quality, safe, traditional and organic foods to other families in Greece and abroad. Our wish is to remain innovative while introducing our products to all markets in Greece and abroad, reinstating the traditional taste of signature Greek dishes.
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